Lakers Fire Up Offense, Beat Detroit by 20
The Detroit Pistons entered STAPLES Center on a three-game winning streak, but left after it turned into an unexpected house of horrors on Halloween night.
The scares were supplied by the Lakers’ offense, which saw seven players score in double figures on their way to a 113-93 victory.
“They dominated us,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “Their energy, they were better at both ends. They played harder, they played sharper. It was a humbling experience, I think, for our guys. It certainly was for me.”
The Lakers (3-4) wasted little time exerting their will, as they took the lead for good midway through the first quarter. From there, the team unraveled its most complete performance of the young season.
Seemingly every player had an impactful night, especially Brandon Ingram, who compiled 13 points, six assists, four steals and a handful of highlights.
“We were landing easy baskets, transition passes, and we moved the ball on offense,” Ingram said. “We didn’t care who shot the ball as long as it went in the hole.”
Leading by example, Ingram sometimes called his own number — striding through the lane for a driving dunk and hitting a tough 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock — and other times he set up teammates, like when he found Brook Lopez wide open for a corner triple to beat the halftime buzzer.
Head coach Luke Walton felt that the 20-year-old showed how effective he can be when simply playing the game as it comes rather having a predetermined outlook, like searching for his own shot or planning to defer to others.
“All night tonight he was using his length,” Walton said. “He was making plays, deflections, ended with four steals tonight. So hopefully something clicked for him on that part of the game.
“I thought he also made a lot of really nice passes. Just nice feel. We’re not calling plays for him to be a playmaker, but (he’s) just reading the defense and making passes.”
While Ingram led the starters, Julius Randle continued to thrive in his role in the second unit, packing 17 points (7-of-9) and seven rebounds into only 18 minutes.
As the Pistons (5-3) struggled to contain Randle’s bulldozing drives to the rack, the Lakers piled up 62 points in the paint — further padding their league-best average.
“He’s been really good ever since we’ve started playing him in that backup five role,” Walton said of Randle. “He’s just been playing with great energy. … He can change games, and he did tonight with the way he came in and played with that unit in the first half.”
While Randle hammered Detroit inside, Kyle Kuzma burned them from outside.
The rookie scored 16 points and hit all four of his 3-point attempts. He set the tone for a Lakers squad that entered the game shooting the NBA’s worst 3-point percentage, but went 12-of-26 on the night.
The combination of Randle and Kuzma was too much for Detroit’s frontcourt, as Van Gundy said that the duo “took them apart.”
Point guard Lonzo Ball shared similar feelings.
“They come in and it’s pretty much instant offense,” Lonzo Ball said. “They can switch everything (defensively). It just gives us another look.”
While Ball himself didn’t have the gaudiest numbers — 13 points, six rebounds and three assists — Walton felt that he was key to the victory.
At his coach’s insistence (and his own preference), Ball pushed the pace all night long. He was also the spark for the Lakers’ ball movement — netting a season-high 30 assists as a team — by ensuring that the possession rarely stuck with one player.
“I though the whole team fed off the way he was playing,” Walton said. “I haven’t looked at his stat line because I don’t really care what it was, but he was really, really impressive tonight.”
Larry Nance Jr. impressed with 14 points and 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. … The Pistons were held to a 1-of-3 mark on free throws — the fewest by an opponent in terms of both makes and attempts in Lakers history. … Corey Brewer and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope arrived to the game in costume, dressed as Spider-Man and Steve Urkel, respectively. … A crowd of 17,569 attended at STAPLES Center.